One year wiser – an open letter to incoming freshmen

Hey, there, baby Tigers!

This letter is for all you high school seniors who have made the decision to attend Mizzou next fall.

Congratulations! Our campus is bustling and beautiful, our professors are award winning, our students are diverse and friendly. What else could you possibly ask for? How about some advice? As a student just finishing her first year at Mizzou, the excitement — and stress — of the first semester are still fresh in my mind, and I want to share some tips for success with you.

  • The first month is hard for everybody. You will miss home, you will miss your family, and you will find yourself feeling homesick at some point. It’s perfectly okay everyone feels that way, but don’t let it define your freshmen year.
  • The “Mizzou 22” is a choice. At other colleges the weight most students’ undeniably gain their freshmen year is referred to as the freshmen 15. Here, it’s called the Mizzou 22. Yes, you can have pizza for every meal, but it does not mean you should. Every dinning hall has the option for grilled chicken or a salad bar, try it and your body will thank you.
  • Wear shoes in the bathroom…. always! Pretty self-explanatory, trust me (and your mom) on this one.
  • Go to class. The biggest mistake you can make your freshmen year is never attending a lecture class because of a “no attendance-required” policy. At the end of the semester you will be stressed and sorry. Wake up on time, go to class, take notes, and pay attention.
  • Create a résumé. You may be surprised how often you have the opportunity to attend an event where someone will ask you to send them your résumé — this could lead to an internship or future job. Plus, a résumé is a great chance to relive those high school glory days and brag about yourself.
  • Make friends on your floor. Whether you need a study break, someone to go to the dinning hall with, or someone to watch Netflix with, your floor mates are always there (literally). A good decision would be to leave your door propped open as often as possible. People will find their way inside and you will be driven to keep your space clean.
  • The Syllabus is life. Read it, memorize it, and never forget it. Teachers are giving you a schedule for every class, their technology policy, and their office hour possibilities, all in one neat little document. It is the Holy Grail (not quite the right word choice) for college students.
  • If you drink, be smart. Some people decide to drink; others decide not too. Make sure you are the only influence on your choice. If you do decide to drink, use your brain and formulate a plan for the night.
  • Be the roomie you would want to have. Roommates are a vital part of college life. What is the best ways to get along with the person you are going to share a small space with? Act in the way you would want your roommate to act towards you. If you want a cleaner roommate, clean your side of the room. If you want a thoughtful roommate, turn off the lights when your roommate says they are going to bed.
  • Don’t stress! Classes, friends, jobs, clubs, and activities are all part of the college experience. You will have a lot going on in any given week and it can be easy to get stressed. Don’t let stress overwhelm you! Take a walk around campus, watch your favorite movie, or take a nap. You will feel a million times better if you take a little time to relax during a busy week.
  • Don’t waste these four years! Make memories, meet new people, find out what you love, and most importantly grow as a person.

College is one of the most unique experiences you will have in your lifetime. You can sleep till 3 p.m., eat ice cream with every meal, and live with your best friends. College is meant to be enjoyed, but it is also meant to prepare you for your future career. Don’t get so caught up in the good times that you forget to the fundamental reason you are here!

Remember tigers, you have to put in work to earn those stripes!